The Australian Wood Duck is one of the more common duck species here in Australia. Wherever there are bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers, dams, swamps and wetlands one can often see pairs or small flocks of this species. On many occasions the number can be many dozens up to loose flocks of hundreds if the habitat is suitable.
This species is not restricted to water however. They will also be found far from water, feeding on pastures, grasslands, sports fields and parks. They can be found throughout much of Australia except the extreme drier regions in central Australia.
In the photo below, the female is on the left while the male is on the right. A Purple Swamphen can be seen in the background. The photos were taken at the Laratinga Wetlands near Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.
Common Bronzewing Pigeons are, on first appearance, a reasonably plain bird. It is only when one gets an individual sitting quietly in a sunny position that you get a full appreciation of the subtle and quite beautiful colours in the plumage of this species. This is what happened to me recently on a visit to the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker, South Australia. I seem to recall seeing at least three birds on that visit; there may have been more that I didn’t see.
In my experience Common Bronzewings are very flighty, nervous birds and will fly off rapidly as you approach. This can make them sometimes hard to photograph in the bush. At Laratinga they have obviously become accustomed to the hundreds of local people and tourists who visit this site every day. Walkers, joggers, photographers and cyclists frequently use the many good paths around the dozen or so ponds making up the wetlands, so it is not surprising that the local bronzewings will tolerate a person coming to within a few metres.
The birds in today’s photos were only about three metres from me so I was able to get some close up shots. The early morning sun shining on their feathers shows off some of the beautiful colours.
Over recent posts here on my site I have featured some of the birds I saw and photographed on a recent visit to the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker, South Australia. As I have stated before, this is one of my favourite birding places to visit because of the large number and variety of birds present all year on the dozen or so ponds which make up the wetlands. Besides, it is about a half hour drive from my home.
Apart from the ease of getting there, and the good variety of birds, another benefit is being able to access the various ponds via a great network of walking paths. These paths are used daily by hundreds of locals and visitors for walking, running, cycling and birding. From the paths visitors have a great view of the birdlife and this makes photography a delight there. On many occasions the paths themselves afford good photographic opportunities.
A example of this on my most recent visit was a small flock of Red-browed Finches drinking from some puddles on the path. Unfortunately the puddles were in deep shade, and the birds constantly moving, so my shots of them turned out very blurry. You get that.
On the other hand, today’s photos feature several Dusky Moorhens feeding on the grassy verges of one of the paths – and in full sunlight. It made it a little easier to get some photos, but on the downside, they were a little skittish.
Dusky Moorhens are often found near bodies of water like the Laratinga Wetlands and often associate with both Purple Swamphens and Eurasian Coots. They found throughout the eastern half of the Australian mainland as well as SW Western Australia and Tasmania.
A few days ago I featured a Pacific Black Duck I saw at the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker.
Today it is the turn of another common species, the Grey Teal.
This great birding site is just over half an hour’s drive from my home in Murray Bridge here in South Australia. I don’t get to visit often enough. I know of birders who visit this place almost every day. The birding is usually very good with many opportunities for bird photography.
The ponds making up these wetlands have wide tracks along their edges and many locals and visitors use these tracks on a daily basis for walking, cycling and jogging. The adjacent picnic grounds are also very well set out and maintained.
On a recent visit I took these photos of some Grey Teal cruising along across one of the ponds. Many birders and photographers probably overlook this common species. It can be found in many parts of Australia wherever bodies of water exist.
I have seen lakes where there were thousands of these ducks. Just because they are common does not mean that they cannot be photographic. I like the photo above, but the one below is something special, in my opinion. The photo has only been cropped a little and has not been enhanced in any other way.
For more photos and further reading about the birds of Laratinga, click here.
The Pacific Black Duck is a common bird in many parts of Australia. Wherever there is a dam, pond, lake, wetland, swamp, river, estuary or other body of water the observant birder will often see this species, frequently in large numbers. Many tend to overlook this species because they are so common, but I love to photograph them whenever I get the chance. I guess, to be honest, I just like taking photographs of birds.
On a recent birding visit to the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker, South Australia, this Pacific Black Duck was resting on the wooden walkway over one of the ponds. I zoomed my camera lens in to get a good shot but it kept looking the other way. I tried asking it to turn my way but it generally ignored me. Eventually it sort of looked towards me – see the photo below – but wasn’t really interested in becoming the next big photographic star on the web.
Can’t say I blame it. It was freezing cold that morning. It was probably just trying to get warm in the early morning sun.
I will post more photos from from this site of more cooperative birds in the coming days.